tv Today in Washington CSPAN February 18, 2010 2:00am-6:00am EST
with all the parties there, and we are doing that. i completely disagree that our leverage is down to zero. these are very difficult issues. i can remember when i was having a semi-vacation working on north korea, i would hear my colleagues in the near east bureau to talk about the issue of the high baroque -- hydrocarbon law. they would sit in the staff meetings, and now turn to the person next to me, and ask, why call it a high vote -- a hydrocarbon wall? but we had so much leverage, why did we get that all? it is a tough issue. the kurds have a very different issue of it. the national oil companies, are you going to have a ministry who
is going to be in the ministry -- how are you going to do that? it is a tough issue involving iraqi interest in iraqi politics. so, no, it did not get done then. . this year, and really press the iraqi's to try to go with an open bidding system, these plexiglass boxes. and i got to tell you, it's worked. leverage to me as i said earlier, i think the major leverage we have is to say, iraqi's, work with us. because if you work with us, you will be a member of the international community. you will go anywhere in the you will go anywhere in the world. people will respect what you're doing. they will respect the alliances and the structures of your foreign affairs. if you go with iran, well, that's another route, but that doesn't lead you very far. i think the power of that
vision, of being a u.s. partner, is a very powerful one, and really is one that will enable us to get things done when you talk about leverage. i think the idea of just using leverage and sort of a negative sense, we have troops there and somehow we can somehow harm you, i think is really a loosely. i think we need to demonstrate our commitment to a long-term relationship. >> i am from the washington institute. ambassador, thank you for the presentation and/or service. those statements made by iraq officials, whether they single out iraq or vice president biden. and the long-term health harvell do think there are two u.s.-iraqi relations? is going to be a trend in the future from your perspective?
>> i don't think it's a trend and i don't think they have been that numerous. abie through the magic of the internet, they get repeated a lot but not by the people who sent them. i think as often the case in these issues, someone says something and then the echo effect is greater than what someone has said. we'll have a problem in dealing with the maliki government. we work with them every day. general odierno and i have a weekly meeting, sometimes i meet him alone. sometimes general odierno meets him alone. we are very productive relationship with the maliki government. we look forward to a productive relationship with whoever replaces the maliki government, including another nokia government. so i'm not concerned with the. this is a question. there in the campaign. there in the middle of a campaign, so sometimes you will draw in a foreign source for some campaign issue. so you know, it's not a problem,
believe me. i've been around a lot. i've been around long enough that i can handle someone criticizing me in the press now. it just happens. deal with it. >> i am with cnn. i would like to ask you to spend on two issues that you brought up in your remarks. first of all i know that you've been working since you took office on the issue of the arab states, a coming more supportive of iraq. could you expand on exactly what you would like them to do and some of your discussions, on why they are not doing this and what are the prospects, what does iraq need to deal to gain that support? and then also on the issue of the band candidates, usage of kind of work past this and moved on, but do you see this as
specifically something that prime minister al-maliki day to quash out some of his opposition because some of those people have been in parliament and did seem to have some political support in the country. thank you. >> on the regional issue, you know, i personally am engaged in iraq, not engage in the region but i know the assistant secretary, geoff feldman, has been very much engaged with the region. and most recently secretary clinton. in fact, i think is still there today. and part of our message and secretary clinton made this very clear at the doha forum is to try to encourage factors to reach out to iraq. now, why have they not done so, why is, why we talking about this, what is the problem? i think for some of them, they wanted to see iraq standing on its feet with a full sovereignty and not being somehow a state
that depends on the united states. for its daily existence. well, clearly iraq has reestablished its sovereignty, it. invested up of very confident security service, security forces, their army that they have institutions that are functioning. clearly, iraq is a sovereign state, and i think for anyone who is concerned about that, they need not be. they need to engage directly with iraqi's. there is some view that some of the sunni states have been reluctant to engage with and iraq -- with what will probably continue to be a shia led state, although i want to emphasize that this is not a win or take all system there. and just as there are important sunnis in the current government, there will be in the next government as well. this is not winner take all. so i think part of it has been to try to encourage other states to work with iraq, even if there
is a potential that will continue to be shia led, as opposed to the sunni led which is what you see in almost all of the middle east. some countries have understood, have come to, have worried about iranian influence there. what i think some of the same countries have also been very engaged in iraq, because they understand that the best way to deal with ironic interest in iraq is to show some interest themselves. and so it has been gratifying to see country stepping up and working very cities we are diplomatically in iraq, if you look at turkey's relationship with iraq, it is better than it has been in many years. if you look at egypt, they now have a strong and busy, very active ambassador. we like to see more of these, and i think we will continue to work on it. i think, our hope is in a no hope is not a basis for policy, but our hope is that after the
elections and after the seating of a new iraqi government, however that long, and by the way it could be just weeks but it could be months. but after the new government is set up we would hope to see other countries in the region. second question was on -- what was the -- lisa? >> on al-maliki, whether his decision to overturn or the candidates, a political move on his part, which i to quash some of his? >> well, i think if you look at enough of the other shia led coalition, they were very strong on this anti-baathist point. [inaudible] >> well, i mean, our concern was that they were pushing what is a
major and extremely emotional issue just before the election. and in our view, inevitably politics crept into this. you will have to ask prime minister maliki whether he was supporting it because he wanted to go after other politicians, or whether he was supporting it because he knew that the voters that he was trying to attract, especially voters that he would try to attract away from other shia, from the other shia coalition, whether they would want to see him take a strong view on it. so i would say, you know, this is shocking, but i would say politics did play a role in this overall situation. and that's why we had some concerns about trying to take a commission that had not been heard from in quite a while and make it front and center, just weeks before the election. and we registered those concerns and i think ultimately, there was a decision, which ultimately
the iraqi at large have accepted. i might also mention that today, or this morning in baghdad, the five major coalition representatives of the five major coalitions, sat together and agreed on a code of conduct. which i don't think we even have here in washington. [laughter] >> the last i checked. and you know, the coalition, one of the points of this code of conduct is to accept the results and accept a certain parameters and how you go after people, and ask you violence which in fort lee is something that needs to be repeated in iraq. so i think we are on into the middle of the elections. and if you went out there, you would see as i mentioned earlier, these campaign posters, you know, the ballots don't have the actual names of the candidates, the names of the candidates are posted in the
$50,000 locations. but people know what number they will be. so they want to make sure the voters understand, checkbox three because that's my boss, or something. this is politics. and democracy, and frankly, they are inspirational. >> from one of the overflow rooms, we have a question. we have several questions that one is can you elaborate what the role of the u.n. in iraq in the medium to long-term? >> i think the u.n. role has been very important there. and i do believe that when the u.s. can work with the u.n. where we can come up with a common agenda, when the u.s. and u.n. work together we can really move mountains. and i believe that we've got a very special relationship with the team there. this is a former dutch politician who knows a thing or
two about parliaments. he also knows a thing about remaining calm through turbulent political season. and i think we very much need that right now. i think the key objective for the u.n. is there, they have a number of system programs that they do through -- for several, undp, the u.n. high commissioner's, i mean, i went out to a place in last weekend saw where you had sunni and shia refugees being returned, and the undp -- or hcr had build houses for them to return to. these are very important issues. but on a political level, the u.n. office is going to be dealing with a couple of other issues. one is the issue of trying to help iraq overcome its chapter seven status.
now, the u.s., by article 25 of the security agreement, is required to assist iraq in overcoming chapter seven status. that is a status of being a threat to peace and security in the region. and this is tied up in a number of iraq's acceding to a number of u.n. security council resolutions in the early 1990s. it is not easy, but we are working with the u.n. on those things. that the u.n. is also engaged with kuwait as well. so the whole chapter 70 next is is a political thing that you and is working. and funny, and i think very importantly, the u.n. is taken on the jobs of dealing with the disputed internal boundary questions, those 15 features with kirkuk. and both of these instances he called a number of us together, including the british and the french ambassadors. and we had kind of brainstorming
sessions on how we can get through the chapter seven issues, how we can get through the dibs question, do you start with kirkuk, which is arguably the most difficult, or do you try to put the most difficult for last or do you say, if we can solve our, then the other 14. so we've been working with them, with him on that, and i just really want to emphasize, you know, we need a strong u.n. presence in that country, and we have one. >> thank you for your presentation. where does u.s. leverage stand on returns? when it the things that obama mentioned in his speech was one of the most significant indicators of a stable iraq was the return of refugees. the majority of refugees in the region have not returned. syria and georgia continue to
receive new refugees. where is the u.s. policy on returns and reintegration. the second issue went to ask about relates to people who have a tax on the their sexual orientation. we have seen your letter to the global equality. we thank you very much for that. the last report said it is increasing. i wonder if you can allow for it, the u.s. is doing to ensure protection for this group. >> refugee returns -- i do not have the statistics with me. our statistics are very clear that there is a net influx of refugees returned. that is one of the reasons i want to -- i went to the allah last week. -- dialah last week. they named a coordinator at our request for refugee issues. a goes beyond the immigration
minister. i believe there was one in december. it was filled to people trying to return to their homes. i went with the minister of migration. you have to make sure their homes are available them to liv. migration, but you can clearly see that you can get people back to their homes, but then you have to make sure their homes are available for them to live in. so you need the police in case that needs to be an eviction. you need that social welfare to make sure there are some services, and potential for jobs. iraq still suffers very high unemployment, which is one of the reasons it is difficult to come back. last week when i went to be all i was pretty impressed that they had built several thousand of these very rudimentary homes. in both shia and sunni area.
and i went and talked to people there and they were very appreciative. a number had already started adding to the structures to make them large enough for larger families. we have a full-time refugee coordinator. marks to roll a, and he, as i said, doing this several day. if several people to work with him on it. the iraqi government is very clear on where we stand on the idp and reggie returns. very clear indeed. the problem that we have had to press on them is to make a priority. and to make sure that, i mean, they have many problems with this one has got to be on the top. there have been criticism that the iraqi's have been unwilling to do it on the eve of
elections. we made sure actually that overseas voting is being well handled. in a, they will be voting for refugees in some 16 countries. we printed some 1.5 million ballots, or 1.4 million ballots in anticipation of meeting these ballots in many different places to make sure that these refugees have a political rights. we're working very hard on that. on the issue of attacks on gays in iraq, all i would say to you on that is that is an issue. that is a problem, and we need to do more in that regard. i did send a letter, but to be very frank with you, we need to do more. >> ambassador hill, from a root there have been several questions. one was on the massive refugee crisis which of address. and other, mr. ambassador, also from beirut, how can a country have democratic and free elections while under occupation without the people feeling it
will be influenced in some way by the occupying country? speaking to iraqi refugees, they paint a different picture and speak of hardship and injustice under the occupation. >> well, if you go through towns and villages and cities, you don't see u.s. forces there. so i'm not sure what they have in mind in terms of being quote unquote under occupation. i mean, the politicians, believe me, are all iraqi at all are making the decisions that there are few of us who try to be helpful and arriving at decisions. but these are iraqi decisions. so i'm not sure i share the premise of the question there. i will say that, for example, today grand ayatollahs astarte put out a statement urging everybody to vote and urging that all people should be prepared to vote.
i lose track of time but i think was two weeks ago i was in anbar and i met with all of tribal leaders come most of whom are sunni. and they told me that they've had the word out through their own network that everybody should go. i met with another group of tribal shieks at my home for lunch the other day. in fact, just before i came here. and they, too, had the same message to all their voters. one of the people actually banned for fastest bass connection to a guy named also had a statement to the effect that people should vote. so i would assure the questioner in beirut and maybe looking at me now, that if he is an iraqi, he should go find one of the polling station because they are active in 16 countries. i'm sure lebanon is one of them and he can pick up a ballot and he can vote. no one is going to intimidate him in that process.
>> i'd like to ask you, i know you spoke a lot about the debaathification, the process. but i just want to ask you, the point have a statement from yourself from general odierno that iran is influenced ahmadinejad in this process, puzzles questions for iraqi's that how this can go on and these candidates have been banned and elections but in terms of legitimacy and transparency, do you think anyway this is going to affect voter turnout in people's confidence in the process? and if i may very briefly, just ask you about the status of detainees, iraqi detainees with the u.s. forces. i know this is something to have been working to reduce. could you give us the latest numbers and if there are any problems in reducing the numbers? thank you. >> first of all, the numbers are coming down, and releases are being made. they move past lower than 9000
last summer, and i want to say 7000. [inaudible] >> six or 7000. and it's a process that's continuing. we've turned over a number of facilities and we have closed some other facilities. so it is very much a process that is continuing. i think the debaathification, as i indicated to you, it's a major issue there. and you know, it is right there in article seven of the constitution. is not an issue to hide under the rug. no matter how many carpets you have in iraq, i mean, you have to deal with it. the problem was it was dealt with very late, and it was dealt with after the onset in effect of the political season. and so i think the process in the eyes of many iraqi's raise questions. raise questions as to whether it was due process and whether it was something where it was not politicize.
i will say that when you look at the list of people, these were not all sunnis. and i think that is a bit of a misunderstanding that people have that somehow this was targeted list of all cities. the effect of it though, in political terms, was i think many cities were concerned perhaps proportionally more concerned about than some shia were concerned about it. i will say, you know, again, it was easy to work through. there was a court of the seven judge panel that was sequestered. and their cell phones taken away, which is a real denial of birthrights in that country now. and they worked assiduously to get the remaining eight. you recall that start with a list of 500. they send it back to the political parties, or the coalitions with whom there are about five. and many of them with new names because they saw that these
people were, in fact, or did have baathist connections would make them in eligible to be seated. and they substituted other names. so that brought the name that to some 250. then there was further scrubbing, and i think some 50 were taken off because they simply were either wrongly named or were patently, you know, had nothing to do with the baathists, with baathist connections. finally, as i understand they came down to about 140 names and the judges adjudicated that list. the initial problem was that they are looking at this 500 list, and the concern was they would be able to adjudicate that. so some people are saying why don't you just wait until after the election as one solution come with the understanding you don't actually see people but once people are elected, you are doing with a much smaller group than, say, 500. you may be due with 20 or 30 a maximum. so it was decided to do it ahead
of time. and i think, you know, it has worked and i think we are moving on. >> thank you. thank you, ambassador. i'm with the turkish daily newspaper. i want to ask you to elaborate more on the turkish role in iraq. in a previous elections, turkey has helped to persuade the sunnis to be part of the election. do you see them helping out this time around this election becomes as, and second of all, you said in your remarks that turkey's relationship is better than it has been. i guess it is more targeted to turkey's relations with the iraqi kurds and the kurdish region in the north. but as you start to draw down the u.s. troops, out of iraq, what are the new concerns that you have? or what have you defined your
concerns in the turkey iraqi relationship. thank you. >> i think first of all, i think turkey is very active and are active in a positive way in iraq. first of all, the turkish ambassador is one of my closest cooperators, we work a lot together. and the absolutely share our goals, our diplomatic, strategic goals for relations, good relations with iraq. during the time when we had very difficult moments in the election law, we were working together on trying to make sure that we could get the election law through so we could get on with the date for the election. and you know, using or certainly in keeping with our diplomatic status but reaching out to iraqi politicians, of all kinds what
it was the turkomen who are concerned about their rights in the kirkuk area but also the sunnis who were always have a concern that somehow more numerous shia are causing or could be a reason for concern that we have worked very well together. general odierno was there just a couple of weeks ago. user come to but a senior american ambassador from the embassy to work with, sit down with the turks and talk about some of the challenges posed by cross-border activity on the part of pkk terrorists. we have very much work together on the issue of a trilateral mechanism where turkey, u.s. and iraq deal with some of the security questions in the north. and we feel that, not only have we been successful through this
mechanism in reducing the threat posed to turkey by some of these pkk elements, but most important, there has done a security relationship between turkey and iraq on these matters. and i think this is something that will have an enduring benefit to turkey's interest, and frankly, to iraq. turkish oil companies have also been engaged, not only in the kurdish areas, but in iraq proper. and i think we can see every day just trucks and trucks of turkish consumer goods, et cetera, coming into iraq. so it is amounting to i think a more important relationship for turkey, and a relationship that i think helps turkey leverage its position in the region. so we see a lot of positives and we continue to work very closely with our turkish friends and allies on that.
>> voice of america, thank you mr. ambassador. the question is regarding a follow-up for the united states to answer a question. what's the role of turkey? is it the same helpful as you mentioned? >> yeah, i think turkey shares our view that we need negotiated solution to that. to the issue of kirkuk. there are a number of ideas that ar what kind should it be? how should and of itself? it is not a question of coming up with a solution in advance. it is a question of encouraging the process. i know that the turkish
government has the capacity to be influential with parts of the equation. it is not all. it is in keeping with the issues. i cannot tell you how it is going to come out. i can say that we are all very much engaged that we will do it in a peaceful way that stresses consensus within the region. we will work very hard on that. >> this is from the representative from the iraq -- what measures are being taken to ensure transparency? >> well, first of all, we are doing a lot of things there. what you money is doing is to work with the election
commission. in the rockies have -- the and iraqis have been beating election security. -- leading election security. we have a meeting recently where we invited all foreign diplomats there to make sure everyone understood how it is being organized. foreign, foreign diplomats there to make sure everyone understood how this is being organized. and especially, how the international election observe observers, our embassy is organizing some 26 teams of election observers. each team needs its own security mechanism. so these are not easy to do, but we are really doing quite a lot. the ballot is, you know, unami
has real experts on this. we have some us-based ngo's that are also assisting. so i think the iraqi voters will not find any surprises when they enter the voting booth. they will know very clearly what their responsibility are as voters and how to mark up their ballot. >> and from the american iraqi oil. one of them was about the biden visit last time, which the second about what influence you have after the election. because i think you don't have influence now at the election, but you have influence after the election. for mister biden visits, which in view of the iraqi, give
negative effect, especially the iraqi people, they don't want somebody in their affair in their way. and i hear that another visit from mister biden to iraq. i wish it will be very careful, especially mr. biden has project for iraq before he come to vice president to divide iraq two or three parts. and thank you. >> okay. well, first of all i can't share the premise of your question that somehow the visit of vice president biden was perceived negatively. it was actually perceive very positive. had an excellent meeting with prime minister, the president. excellent meeting with the speaker of the council of representatives.
i thought it was very important visit, very useful disappear key did not go for the purpose of telling them what to do. he didn't go for the purpose of telling people in iraq what's going on in iraq. he did talk about how iraq is being perceived outside, which is really a fair thing to do to explain to iraqis that what you do is being looked at from outside. and here is the perspective from outside of what you are doing. so i think he really very much went as a very long-standing friend of iraq. i can assure you, as we look forward to getting past the election and onto government formation, that the u.s. has a great interest in a successful process. but our interest will not be -- it will be expressed in appropriate activities. so we will, we will be helpful in this process, and helpful and consistent with our obligations
in the strategic framework agreement to try to work to overcome the isolation of iraq, but also to help iraq in its development of democratic institutions. so i can assure you, vice president biden's trip was very, very well received by people. >> odds are, what was the other question? [inaudible] >> and we will, we will exercise our influence. [inaudible] >> we will exercise our influence appropriately and consistent with our diplomatic standing. and we will try to be helpful to see that iraq can stand up a government and stand up for government that has the support of its parliament in support of its people. but that is for the iraqis to do. that is not our job. our job is to be helpful in the process. [inaudible] >> i'm sorry?
[inaudible] >> know. it is not for us. is for the iraqi people to decide whether they want to elect that it's not our job. we have enough jobs. >> alexander kravis, formerly of the aba. ambassador, thank you for your remarks and thank you for the time taking these questions. i am wondering if you could share with us some thoughts perhaps on how after the elections, the whole hydrocarbons law of oil issue between the krg and the central government baghdad might be resolved. and perhaps more specifically, i'm, and i don't mean to put you on the spot, but i'm curious if you see the report on the recent publication on iraq's oil politics and if you might have any comments and if you have actually seen it, what your thoughts might be on having it
translated to arabic. that's the basis for discussion. >> i have heard about it, i haven't seen it. but if you have a copy i would love to take it with me. i think iraq needs a hydrocarbons law. i think the fact that there was a recent agreement about a week ago between the kurdish krg government and the iraq government at baghdad on a resolution of this issue of revenue sharing, i think is encouraging. the prime minister sent to prime minister maliki a proposal which included the text of oil deals, international firms. and that was accepted by the iraqi oil ministry. and so that's cleared the way to
resume kurdish oil shipments that have been interrupted for some time. so that is all encouraging, and we hope there'll be some momentum for that to addressing the hydrocarbon law. but i don't want to, you know, stand in the long line of people predicting the hybrid -- hydrocarbon law will happen. is a complicated matter we will see what will get done after the election. >> there is an online request for another prediction. >> i don't do predictions except the red sox won the world series this year. that was a given. [laughter] >> this is of the iraqi minister expected violence and within three months after the election. what about your expectations to? you know, i think there are fewer and fewer people who are engaged in trying to settle political matters, violently. if you look at the al qaeda which, you know, remains obvious he a threat in iraq.
and engage in some high profile bombings in baghdad, but it is significant to understand they have zero support from the iraqi public. part of what happened with the whole movement in anbar was semi-people have had enough of this type of wanton violence and essentially stepped out of that process. so i think the trend line is toward less and less violence. the iraqi secret forces are increasing their capabilities of going after these terrorist cells, these networks. but i do believe that the statistics would clearly lead you to believe that this is going in the right direction. i think the hope and expectation really is that after these elections, that it will be further impetus to convince
iraqi's that now is the time to participate in a clinical process that is being run by, for and the iraqi people, and not by the foreign concern. >> there are two people there. go ahead. >> ball mark the data, freelance journalist. ambassador, two of the main of five coalitions of prime minister maliki's have expressed interest in transitioning from consensus-based national unity type of government to a majority the type of election after election. you think the composition of these two coalitions, but that more than one sects represented within them would make that a feasible option?
do you think that iraq is ready for this kind of transition? thank you. >> you know, this issue comes up a lot. it is in the public debate in iraq, that should you have a system where everybody gets something or should you have a system where winners get something and losers don't. i know that the frustrations are that when you have a system where everybody gets something, there's a concern that somehow some of these ministries don't work or they are not loyal enough to the head of the government, and therefore, it's not a good system. you know, i just think this is an example of something where, you know, the iraqi's are going to have to sort through this. i think there are two ways to try to run iraq. one is to, you know, give everyone a little piece of the action. the other is to try to do it all yourself. i believe it up to others to decide which is a better way to handle it, but i don't think it's for us to be venturing
forth in telling the iraqis how to resolve what is essentially an age-old issue for them to deal with. i will say it is encouraging that they're looking at these essentially models of democracy that they have to decide on paper is for them to choose, not for us. >> mr. ambassador, what you see as the primary obstacles to economic development in iraq right now? and what do you think needs to be done, for example, in the next six months to change that scenario? >> i think they need to strengthen rule of law. they need to strengthen contract law, things like that. i may, for businesses need to know very cleared what their rights are. they need to be assured that there are, that the court system can be adequate to dealing with the disputed issues.
so i think just the rule of law infrastructure is one problem. i think another problem is just basic information, cell phone penetration, et cetera, other issues like that, our kind of inadequate right now. when you look at the kind of astounding numbers that are discussed for the department of the iraqi oil sector, we're talking about getting up to numbers like 10 million barrels a day, and more, 12 million euros a day. that puts iraq sort of four times what iran is exporting. puts iraq at sort of in saudi type territory. but is this feasible? i think it is only feasible if they start building infrastructure in a big hurry so i think infrastructure is a major, is a major issue, a major drag on economic growth. you know, security, the problems of security i think are quite
clear. but as i suggest in the last question, that is improving, probably for language skills need to be addressed. i mean, i was at university of baghdad, and i could see that they are doing a lot there. and it is rather, you know, it is discarded as a as an american ambassador i can get around universities now that i can talk to students and to what they're saying, at what what what they would like to do. would like to do with their lives. and to go to the university of baghdad and have english-language students and also computer science students and engineers talking about they would like to have more distance learning opportunities with american universities. i must tell you i i plan to get them moving on these things these are to carry on and get things done.
i think the education system, which iraq is very proud needs to be revitalized i think that is something that is really a good fit for what the u.s. can do. iraq has seized on this. jim -- iraq's the strongest program in the region. i think we can seize on this. >> you did mention that the coalition recently agreed on a code of conduct for the election. are you concerned about a possible coup d'etat? >> i do not see any sign whatsoever of any coup d'etat. i have got a lot of worries in iraq, but that is not one of them.
there has been a real strengthening in the government in iraq. i do not see any immediate danger of that. >> thank you for your presentation. -- your rebidding presentation. >> in america when you see remitting, you do not need it. >> in america who we say riveting, we don't mean it. [laughter] >> two countries divided by, like us is. can i ask you to turn it around and reflect on what you've learned or what we should learn about the capacities of the u.s. government, and of the international coalition. particularly and this is for reconstruction and rebuilding, huge national project.
>> that is the subject of a future book. these -- you know, is a long -- is a long and complex question as to what we've learned, but i will tell you, you can go into these countries thanking you understand them before you're there. and you need to be really respectful of the history, respectful of emotions as i suggested earlier on this the best issue. respectful of the fact that you may have a solution that is pretty obvious, like is some sort of out your great equation, but it doesn't mean the other guy is going to buy it. i think you also have to be respectful of the time element of political solutions, that is we have a certain timetable, and i can't be sure that the iraqis always always share our timetable. so when we say you must get an
election law done by december 13, or whatever, there is action is sort of, says who? [laughter] so i think solutions get there, solutions are reached, but they're not necessarily reached in that we would consider a timely way. the main thing and these, the sort of issue and many others, is you have to go into with a real sense of humility about what you are dealing with. and also, don't, you know, things happen for a reason. i mean, the first question, the first question when you confront some nasty dictator is not how you get rid of him, it is how did he get there in the first place. and that certainly affects the answer to the question of how you get rid of him because you may want to get rid of him, but you should first answer the question how he got there in the first place. and i think often when you go into that question, things will be better for you.
so i don't know. i mean, i went in with a very, very aware of my limitations in terms of the region. i had worked in the western ottoman empire but i hadn't worked in eastern empire. so was kind of company to see some of the same patterns that i've known so well in the balkans, covering in the sense that i was familiar, familiar with them. but every day you are there, you feel, you have a handle on something and then you feel you don't. so you just have to keep at it, and i just think the united states is tremendous responsibilities around the world, but we also have a responsibility to try to understand things and conduct ourselves with the humility that some of the complexity of some of these problems. i don't know, that's a couple of lines from what i hope will be someday a book. >> probably the last question from some of our overflow room.
the sunni community in the early election, what percent of purchase a patient expect on march 7? >> i don't know the answer to that, but i can tell you, all senior sunni leaders we have talked to, and believe me, we have spent a lot of time talking to people. a lot of time drinking tea there. they are pretty clear that they want to vote. and i think many sunni leaders, i've heard him say this, we believe we made a mistake in 2005 and we will not make that mistake again. and that is encouraging, but what needs to be done is we need make sure these elections, off and this is, you know, we will have tough days. you know, we still have two weeks or so, two weeks and two and a half weeks. so there will be some tough days. there will be violent days as well. there will be very intemperate a days, but we will get through this, and the iraqi's need to know that we're not getting
through this in order to leave. we're getting through this in order to develop a long-term partner. and we believe that in iraq, we have such a partner. >> ambassador hill, on behalf of the online participants on the people that you can see, but are looking at you know, and everyone in the room, thank you very much. this is a man who will tell us when we're talking through his embassy, that ride over there, he mentioned his iranians ordinates. he was not kidding when he says it comes literally down on his head in his front yard. this takes commitment which he mentioned. this takes bravery, which he mentioned. this is an important opportunity that the united states has come and we appreciate your time speaking to us today. so thank you very much. [captioning performed by national captioning institute] [captions copyright national cable satellite corp. 2010]
legislative conference. in a bid to less than an hour and a half, a briefing on the president's budget request for the national oceanic and atmospheric administration. after that, the head of the tuconsumer product safety commission. later, a forum on nuclear deterrence. on "washington journal" tomorrow, the head of the conservative union will discuss this year's political action conference which begins tomorrow. we will look at the conservative movement with thomas of frank. then bonnie glaser talks about president obama's meeting tomorrow with the tibetan spiritual leader, the deli -- the dali lama.
>> a couple of live events to tell you about. he is the key at a justice department, cruise through. department. it is the conservative political action conference. tomorrow's speaker includes jim demint, dick armey, and mr. romney. >> sometimes i think history is a series of accidents but do it is like a pileup of cars and snowstorms. >> how did the u.s. in that in vietnam? ted morgan on the "valley of death." and the battle that ended the war in indochina.
quite the new york association of black and puerto rican legislators held the annual conference recently and heard from members of a delegation. but also included remarks from a possible senate candidates, harold ford jr.. this is a little less than an hour and a half. >> thank you. that was my sister. chairmen perry, chairperson thompson, senator schumer, senator dole brand, and controller did not fully -- and all of the wonderful people who have come here to help this organization. to help this organization -- i would like to begin my remarks
where i began friday night, in tribute to percy ellison -- alice sutton -- ellis sutton. in only six weeks, we've started to make the chairman of mythological figure, and in some ways we see why we remember him. he was a the assemblymen, all borrow money from manhattan, and rose to be the mayor of the city of new york. but that is not why we remember him. he held a number of jobs -- i cannot keep track of them. one assemblyman said that he wasn't sorry police officer. -- he was an odd story police officer. and he is a great lawyer, but that is not why we remember him.
he was the chairman of intercity broadcasting. it was one of the largest african american media mogul's the country has ever produced. but that is not why we remember him. we remember him because in 1961, when a lot of people were scared, he went to the heart of segregation, mississippi, and was jailed for weeks while boycotting public accommodations that did not serve african- americans. [applause] we remember him, because after he was mayor, after he ran for mayor and could not get coverage in the major media, he shifted inner-city broadcasting to create wlib so that the neighborhood could got -- could get the message that all of us
elected officials wanted to deliver. we remember him because he was not afraid and he spoke truth to power. when malcolm x was murdered in 1965, and his widow with four children and two on the way had no place to bury him, only percy sutton came forward to give the fitting burial to that great leader of our community. so we rightly -- he rightly takes his place along our great leaders, malcolm x, who lived in our times with criticism and honesty about america as it was at that time and for black americans. harriet tubman, who went back into the south to rescue her brothers and sisters from slavery. paul robeson, a singer, an actor, assault -- a scholar, a
philosopher, one that could have got along very well by going along but who would speak out against injustice. so when honor percy sutton, who taught us to speak truth to power, for a moment, i'll like for power to speak to the truth. the state over the last four years has had revenues down twice the national average. working with the legislature, since i became governor one month before two years ago, we reduced $33 billion of deficit. we have had to revert war on some of our most beliefs of the past two years to try to keep the state permitting out of
money to give -- state from running out of money. i had to veto a piece of legislation that would help children of victims of lead poisoning. it was legislation i introduced when i was a senator. these are very difficult times for new york. these very difficult times all around this country. 48 of the 50 states are currently in deficit. 29 states have laid off or furloughed workers. 27 states now have abandoned all of their early and prekindergarten education programs. the state of california is passing out ious. the state of arizona is at this
time now stilling of state property for debt. the state of illinois and has released inmates from prison, because they have been unable to pay their debt. the state of vermont has shortened the week to 4.5 days. at the state of utah us shorten the workweek to four days. the state of hawaii has shortened the school week to four days. e of hawaii has shortened its school week to four days. these are difficult times. some people say i should not be running for governor because i have tried to stop the state from running out of money and becoming insolvent. [applause] let it be known, i am not going
to let the states run out of money, not on my watch, and i will be running for governor no matter what they say. [applause] we have got to get real here for a minute. the reality is that school districts around the state, 95 percent of them, they have the resources to cover the proposed reductions that we are making. the wealthiest school districts have $1.5 million in wealth that they can use to absorb this deficit, but there are school districts that cannot, and they are the districts of roosevelt in what -- and long island, rockaway and washington heights,
and the new york city. mount vernon in west chester, and arbor hill, five blocks from where we speak, and ease buffalo, where 40% of the children live below the -- the poverty line. we cannot cut those districts anymore because they do not have the resources to absorb it. and and any reduction plan that i offer, we will not overtax the school districts where the students live on the margins of the need. [applause] but these are difficult times. just last week we have had to redefine the deficit from $7.4 billion to $8 billion because wall street firms gave their bonuses in stock, not in cash,
and we cannot tax them. but we will find a way to get the resources and balance this budget, and we will balance the at the right time. it is our ardent belief that at times like this, we cannot ask those who have the least to pay for it. that is why last year we went into the welfare allocation for the first -- we increased the welfare allocation for the first time in 19 years. we increased food stamps by 30%, and unemployment insurance from 26 weeks to 59 weeks. we increased benefits for those who lose -- lose work and need insurance to 36 weeks, and we provided $350 million for those who are going to college and cannot take the increase in
loans by lenders who were taking our young people's educational opportunities away. when i came into office in march 2008, african-americans and hispanic companies who had been qualified to receive 16% of the contracts that new york state was offering and procurement, they got 1.3% of the business even though they were qualified, even though they had the resources, even though they were certified. we have quadrupled that number in 23 months. [applause] the african american firms of lawyers and bankers, insurers and the sellers of securities and bonds, who issued that -- we have sextupled -- that means six times -- it should not be
confused with any rumors. [laughter] [applause] we have sextupled their participation in 23 months. with every written new york's real estate law so that we have not to find the meaning of alone and the meaning of predatory lending. if you go outside the parameters of our new law, you will be prosecuted for mortgage foreclosure my -- violations under the laws of the state of new york. and so as we move forward, it is important to note that the state, the state that has had more difficulties than any other state, has been the epicenter of the recession and has not had to make the changes that 36 other
states have made. we have balance our budget. we have paid to all of our obligations. i make sure that we pay our school districts, our local governments, a service providers. i have maintained a sound credit rating when other states did not. i'm black. i'm blind. i am still alive. how much better do you want me to be? [applause] and so this is an election year and it is open for anyone that would like to challenge main, and the only way i am leaving is through the ballot box, and the only way i am moving before is
that inner box. [applause] -- is in a box. [inaudible] and the reason the way i am -- the reason i am the way i am is because i was raised in this caucus, under the tutelage like people like angelo del toro, and also like their mentors, david dinkins, my own bed, charles rangel, and the late percy sutton. they always told me, keep fighting, don't give up, keep fighting, and don't give up, keep fighting, and never give up! thank you very much.
[applause] >> thank you, governor paterson. they have decided to make a joint presentation, perhaps in the interest of time. our senior senator chuck schumer and the dean of it congressional delegation, charlie rangel, welcome. >> thank you, girl. it is good to be here with my partner and good to see senator gillibrand here, the attorney general, we're glad that you are all here. recognizing the link of the program tonight, and knowing
that i can i get back to new york without my senior senator, we decided to greet you together. my portion is to say, for those of you that have identified education as a priority, that the condition we find ourself in, in the city, state, and federal government dictate that without education we will not have the ability to survive. not to survive. percy sutton understood that vision. percy sutton has touched so many different lives. percy sutton will live forever because one of the initiatives that he had was not just forming groups like this the fight like hell, as the governor has so well spoke, but to make certain
that every kid has a good, decent, college education. but percy had partners, and one of those partners was arthur e. and i would like to ask arthur to please come on stage because they have an award for him, and percy loved him so much. and we have -- on behalf of all the legislators that of her -- that serve this body over the years, i want to pay tribute to arthur e. because he lives now and he will live forever. author is the best, and his lovely daughter, lisa -- alicia.
so what do we have for my distinguished by the right over here? he is going to be briefed because it is time to be brief. here it is here. arthur, of the love of all of us, you know, is with you but it is symbolized by this. i am so pleased that i am here to represent him because he would want to do this, he would be doing it, but i am lucky enough to be here to do it. thank you for all that you have done and continue to do. god bless you. [applause] this is the percy sutton empire state award, given to you as the first one that they have. thank you, nick perry.
>> all right. >> whatever we have been able to do, god did it. i did not do it -- god did it. god gave us percy sutton, and this morning's church, someone said that i started a program. it was not made. it was percy sutton who started that program at the city university, and he started that , and many of us build on that. the staff program, eoc, liberty partnerships, teach opportunity core, professional opportunity corps, they are at least 600,000 eop graduates and
400,000 agop's, and that does not count all the others. because of percy sutton, over 300,000 people got their education, and they are now paying billions of dollars back to the state in taxes. percy sutton love digitation -- education, and we loved him. percy looked at me when i ran for mayor, he ran the same year, and he consulted and gave me good advice. it is good to be able to look it charlie sutton, we both were in the assembly.
of the house and the ways and means committee, we do not know how n.y. would have done as well as she has been able to do many of the programs that the governor and mayor have been talking about because we got a house in the senate to do what had to be done with our programs. and so -- it is great that we do not get a chance to talk about each other in washington, but every year we come up together. give a great round of applause for my great friend, chuck schumer on the finance committee, and the third ranking member of the united states senate. >> while we are added, let us
hear it for the dean of our whole delegation, charlie rangel. i am going to be brief. i just want to recall to you that when i got to the assembly just a little after charlie and tom fortune and the great archer read them like you can count on two nape -- hands the numbers of members of the caucus. now there are 48. when i started, there was a young freshmen next door to me, all bets. he had one staffer. he carried him around and helped him out, and everything has grown and grown since then, so congratulations, new york black and puerto rican legislators we make history together. last year, i said to all of you, we have a hope and a prayer and help us achieve it, and that is
that we persuade first the president and then the senate's to nominate the first latino to the supreme court, sonia sotomayor. shias on the court today. one of the many accomplishments -- she is on the court today. one of the many accomplishments of barack obama. i want to thank you for first bringing her name to all of our attention in terms of the supreme court. and i want to say one final thing. tonight we speak not just to the caucus members but to the millions they represent, to the worried moms and dads who are keeping the wolves of monthly bills at the door, to the senior citizen who worries about health care and the cutbacks that occurred to them, for those young men and women who are desperately seeking a job, not
for two weeks or months, but for two years. we speak to them and i can assure you and i know charlie can, president barack obama speaks to them as well. and despite -- despite all of the barriers put in his way and put in our way, but we have accomplished a great deal, but we have much, much more to accomplish. we must on the bench continue to increase -- increase diversity. tonight i am proud to announce that we are nominating raymond loya, a laotian, to the second circuit court of appeals. i have always tried to bring diversity to the bench. i have three criteria -- excellence, and diversity, and
i've recommended a number of people of color to the bench. i told one of the white males that i nominated that he was diversity. but we have much more to do. we have to create jobs. we have to improve education. we have to pass a health-care bill that gives health care coverage to all americans. and here is what we say together -- chairman riegle, and all of us here tonight, to president obama -- with the special interests go after you, when everybody goes after you, we have your back. we have your back when you fight for health care. we have your back when you fight for jobs. we have your back when you are improving our kids' education. and together, we will succeed. thank you, god bless you, and have a great evening. [applause]
>> ok, let me make a special welcome to the congressman from the 21st district, i believe that he is in the middle. and i also want to introduce to you malcolm smith, who represents the 14 senatorial districts in queens, and is the first african-american president pro tem of the new york state senate. malcolm's death. -- malcolm smith. >> thank you very much, girl. good evening everyone. -- that you very much, earl. good evening, everyone. all the men in the house, but to the lady -- look to the lady on
your left or right and say, happy valentine's day. now -- now, all the ladies in the house, look to the left and right to demand, and say happy valentine's day to them. and my wife is way over there, table 84, happy valentine's day, michelle. thank you very much. i have the pleasure -- shh. i have the pleasure of introducing someone tonight, a young man that all of you know. i was at service this morning, and the preacher, dr. sojay, davis a sermon at of exodus, and the topic was "through struggle
comes straiength." the young man i'm about to introduce to you is a man who understood and knows what struggle is and how that struggle gives strength to individuals. this young man could have left washington and went on to make millions of dollars, but he recognized that there were people and individuals who were struggling that needed somebody to stand up for them and give them strength. this young man struggled on behalf of immigrants, and now these immigrants through the immigration for a program that he accomplished have the strength to manage their own lives on the ground. this young man understood that
there were homeowners who are struggling with people who would not and did not want them to maintain their homes, so he struggled and fought for so many homeowners who are being victimized by a predatory lending, and so many of them now have a home with a roof over their heads. this young on -- this young man understood the struggle of young people who were fighting to go to school, who needed loan programs. he fought and struggled for them and so many of these young people now have the right to get a decent education. this young man has always been there for our community, so buffalo to brooklyn, this young man is one of the brightest lights in the state of new york. and he has the future brighter
than many know as it comes for today. he hails from quaint. one of the best attorney general's in the state of new york, please join me in welcoming andrew cuomo. [applause] >> good evening. it's a better even than that. good evening. >> good evening! >> let's hear it for a great state senator from queens. that malcolm should call me a young man made me so happy. he is a great senator, a great president pro tem, he has done a fantastic job bringing the senate to the majority, malcolm smith. let's give him a round of applause. to our great emceed tamar tonige
paid me to give him that blood but it was my pleasure. let's give him a round of applause, role louis -- earl lewis, and to all of you, it is a pleasure to be with you nearly 40 years for the caucus. let's give them all round of applause. 40 years, but they have accomplished. and as david dinkins used to say, when you get to this point in the program, everything has been said, but not everyone has said it. so let me be brief also. on this weekend, we recommit ourselves to the battle. we recommit ourselves to the battle for justice, the battle that says every child, every person in this state deserves
the right to make the most of their god-given talents, and any barriers in their way must be knocked down, and it is the affirmative obligation of government to be that vehicle. when we talk about the good fight, that is the good fight, off like that we have to fight every day, and the reason it is important that we are hill to recommit ourselves is because the battle must go one, because the barriers still exist, because there is still too many young people who are not judged by the content of their character, but people who think our work is done, they have to think again. painful to say, but discrimination is alive and well in new york state to date, and that is the truth then we have to say it because you will never solve all problems you are unwilling to admit. and if you have any questions, spend a day in my office and
hear the tales of discrimination in housing and unemployment and lending. yes, it is better but it still exists today, there is no doubt. there are too many millions who do not have access to health care. and we are at a time today, my friends, when there are hmo costs in a position where they can play god, because the hmo is going to decide who gets covered and who does not get covered, and if you do not get covered, you do not get the operation and you lose your life. they're still a barrier to access credit and capital. there is one for the rich and one for the poor, and when you go to school on the rich side of town, they will show you the first grade, they run the internet. you go to the first great in the poor school, and they don't even have a basketball net. you go into the school on the
rich side of town, and it will show you the fancy computers and their pentium processors. you go to the school on the poor side of town, the most sophisticated piece of electronic equipment is the metal detector that you walk through on the way to your classroom, and that is not new york, that is not america, that is not fairness, that cannot be tolerated, and that is why we are here this weekend. and i will tell you, my friends, one of the great issues that we're in the midst of today, one of the great economic justice issues is how we're going to deal with the consequences of this economic meltdown that we just went through. and we're still working through it as a nation. who is going to pay the price? for what this nation just went through and what this nation is going through. i will tell you what fairness is to me. the rich got richer and richer
payment, that is that daughter's wedding, and that is gone. the citizens lose the equity in their home and now they're going to pay debt bailout the bankers so they could have million- dollar bonuses. that is not justice. that is not fairness. and that is not going to happen in the state of new york. that is the fight for justice that we make. that is what we recommit ourselves to this weekend. is my honor to serve as attorney general. it is my honor to represent the people of the state of new york. and that is their fight for justice. new york was always the beacon for the rest of the nation. new york is the progressive capital. when we -- we do not talk about progress, we accomplished progress and the other states follow a spirit that to me is what it means to be a new yorker. that has kept this caucus live for 40 years and that is what
we're going to carry forward. god bless. [applause] >> thank you, attorney general,. let me acknowledge the former comptroller of the city of new york, good to see you. representing the 30 that senatorial district in westchester county is a woman who among other things is the first african-american to preside over the state senate. please join me in welcoming address cousins -- andrea cousins. >> good evening. you would never know when you're going to be called upon to do something extraordinary.
you never know when somebody is going to say, it is short-term. you never know when you're going to be asked to step up to a bigger platform, to higher heights. and then you never know you're going to do and how it is going to work out. the young woman i am going to introduce to you is someone who was asked to step up a year ago by gov. paterson. someone who was asked to step up to become the junior senator of the united states. and people wondered, who is kirsten gillibrand? and within weeks, even days, we
knew who she was. we knew right away she was hard- working we knew right away she was not afraid of a challenge. we knew right away that week -- that she was competent and a securities lawyer for 15 years. we knew that she knew downstate because she spent 15 years in new york city before coming of state. we knew she had global understanding. then we came to find out that she knew as much about wall street as she did about main street, that she knew a much about corporations as she did small businesses, that she knew as much about health care as she knows about the need for child care. we understood that she was never going to stop fighting, that she was not going to stop until she went to every one of the county's that she represented,
and that nothing was too big or too small for this woman whose dedication and commitment to serve all new yorkers fairly and justly was met. senator kirsten gillibrand has been a tremendous advocate. she has been someone who got on the map and is staying on the map. she is someone who her colleague the senior senator said, work hard, no-nonsense, gets the job done, despite by her colleagues, and yes, she is loved by yes. i present to you senator kirsten gillibrand. [applause] >> thank you, andrea, for that beautiful introduction.
you're a woman of wisdom and much generosity. i what i think nick perry for chairing this fantastic weekend. it has been amazing. we have had a great time. and i want to thank the chair of the caucus for her hard work as well. thank you for everything you have done. as many of you know, i grew up just a stone's throw from here. as many of you also know, what my greatest mentors and the person who inspired me into public service was a woman who was a heart and soul of the albany democratic party, my grandmother. for those of you that had been around, if you know about her, but she was a lady who grew up in the south end of albany, came from very modest means, worked her whole life, it never went to college. she knew one very important thing, that women did not have a voice in government. they did not have a say in the
direction of their country, the direction of their community, because they were not represented. what she did about that is organized women, all the women in the legislature come up all the women in albany at the democratic club, and those women with their passion made a difference because it was all grass-roots work. all the work that we do in this room envelops the thing and the fund banking, she did it. she brought me a long soak every fall would be working in someone's campaign, stuffing envelopes are passing out fliers and putting on bumper stickers. it taught me an important lesson, that women's voices matter, that what we do with our time matters, that our advocacy matters. and so i always dreamed of public service and trying to do things for others. so when i was given this opportunity to be the center for new york, i thought long and
hard and looked deep into my heart about what kind of senator i wanted to be. and from my grandmother, i knew that i wanted to be a voice for the voiceless, to be someone that would fight for those families of hiv, for that single mom who cannot find affordable day care and so cannot get a job, to be someone who would fight for that small business owner who cannot get a loan even though they have had one for years. i was a church this morning -- i don't know how many of you made it. there was a lot of parties last night. but those of you who did make the service, it was well worth it. there was an amazing sermon, an amazing woman. and what she talked about was moses. she talked about accidents, she quoted the scripture and said, what is most important from the story about moses was that the struggle strengthens us.
and she talked about how moses, when he is leading the israelites into the promised land, he had his enemies behind, a body of water ahead, and two deserts' on either side. it is that moment when you put your hand outside and say i need help, i need guidance, and your faith carries you along. that is what moses did, and they split the red sea and he continued on its journey. it reminds me of where we are right now. we are in this struggle. this is our desert moment. everything is difficult now. unemployment is as high as it has ever been in our lifetime. real unemployment in new york state is 50%, 70% for veterans coming back from iraq and afghanistan. real unemployment numbers do not show this. some people say, it is getting better. look at the stock market doing
great. the bonuses that wall street are giving, it's getting better. that is not true for all across new york were so many communities and so many small businesses, people are struggling. i've traveled the whole state and i can tell you that when i meet with families -- i was in the bronx and went to a health center, 40 children in the waiting room, 40. i imagine being a mom with her sick child. one mom told me about her child who has asthma. the door, my 6-year-old has asthma. god forbid i could not afford the medicine that he needs to say help the. that is what parents face all across the state. we need a health care system that works for everyone. [applause] i traveled the state and talked to small business owners -- even this morning someone came up to
meet, a small-business owner from brooklyn, and he said, what are you doing for me? i asked if he had access to credit. he said, no, i don't. we're trying to increase that credit, helping the credit union and the small bank to makes more -- to make more loans. tax credits for small businesses. those of the types of solutions that matter. and just as the doctor told us about moses, bringing the is rely to the promise line, moses was never allowed to enter the promised land. that was up to joshua. every elected leader in this room as part of that joshua generation. president barack obama said that he was leading that joshua generation. it means that it is our responsibility to move forward through the struggle to the promised land. there will be obstacles in the way. joshua had the walls of jericho in front of him, but we have to
remember, if you want to bring those waltham, unique to speak in one voice. one voice together, all in unison, to bring down those walls. and that is what joshua did. the walls came tumbling down. and that is what we as community leaders and activists, if we come together in the struggle, we will be victorious, we will overcome, and we will make a difference for every family in new york. god bless you. [applause] >> thank you. thank you, senator gillibrand. i know of wellcome to the deputy president of the bronx, and a former -- and a former assemblywoman. when you join me in welcoming felix ortiz, the assemblyman from the first district in brooklyn.
>> beuenaz noches! it is a great honor for me to be here and welcome you all. as a former assembly member, he and i sat together for many years. he is come to be one of the shining stars at columbia state, and it is my great privilege to introduce you the former comptroller of the state of new york. tom the napoli --denapoli. >> it is a great evening, it is a wonderful evening. congratulations for the caucus pulling together an incredible
evening and weekend. let's get another round of applause to chairman perry, the association, the association chair, and art danner chair. give them another round of applause. and their staff, for doing a great job. i also want to give another acknowledgement to someone i have a great privilege to serve with, his recognition this evening was long overdue, but most appropriate. the former assemblyman and deputy speaker, or three -- arthur e.. thank you for all that you've done for new yorkers. and one other shout out. i know he was a knowledge but i don't think he got a round of applause the desert. on a personal level, i could not be have to control or i am today if i did not have a friend and mentor and a partner and former city comptroller bill thompson. he is a great leader, not only
>> thanks to the caucus and everyone who support the assembly members in the home district, it is possible to have of voice, to have a seat at the table, and as we go through this tough and challenging time, i think we need to keep in contact -- in context the sense of history, that we stay focused on what is real. as we stay focused on what is best for our younger citizens, for our children, we can get through this tough time in a way that is stronger than we were at the beginning of it. i just want you to know, we are working very hard with a wonderful team who supports me to help move this date forward at this tough and challenging time.
if we work together in partnership, keep our goals in mind, i know that the time come when we will say it seemed impossible, but we did get through it, to a better and stronger place. thank you for the hard work you do in our community. have a great evening, everyone. [applause] >> representing the 68th assembly district in east harlem, please join me in welcoming adam clayton powell iv. >> good evening, ladies and gentlemen. heavy valentine's day once again. i have the distinct honor and privilege to introduce our keynote speaker for this evening. harold ford, jr.. he served in the united states
congress for 10 years. he is now chairman of the democratic council, news dallas- fort nbc and ms nbc and a visiting professor at the graduate school of public service. harold ford, jr. is a graduate of the university of pennsylvania where he received a b.a. in american history and the university of michigan law school. he also serves on the pentagon transformation advisory camp. he also serves as an overseer on the board of the international rescue committee and a member of the council on foreign relations. you and i know that much has been said over the last few months about this young man's right to run. i have not endorsed anyone in his u.s. senate race, but i am willing to listen to all the candidates are potential
candidates and make an informed decision. if he runs, whether you support him or not, let me be perfectly clear. everyone has the right to run. [applause] many years ago, my father and many of your parents and grandparents fought valiantly and shed much blood, sweat, and tears to ensure the rights of all people to vote and to fully participate in this democracy. and not just referring to a our keynote speaker, because you and i know there has been some whispering about our governor, a former caucus member, and whether he can or should run for governor again this year. my friends, i have always believed that the people and
only the people should decide who represents them. so therefore, i brothers and my sisters, in the true spirit of democracy, let us give a warm welcome to our keynote speaker harold ford, jr. [applause] >> thank you. and i am honored and humbled to be here this evening, and i will not be long. i joked with governor paterson and nick perry and general cuomo that ronald reagan gave a morning in america speech, and at the rate we are going, i thought i would give a morning in albany speech before it the
night ended. hi grew up in a little town called memphis. i ran for congress when i was 25 years old. i had a father who was my predecessor in congress to serve for 22 years. my mother and was a member of the church of god in christ and my dad was a baptist. when i announced for congress in april of 1996, i was 25 years old. my opponents were all experienced legislators and i was told that i should not run, that voters would make a selection that would not be meet, that voters wanted more experience. it was true, i was graduating law school, and my first job if i were to be elected would be in the united states congress. the first few weeks and months
of the campaign were incredibly difficult. like those of us to run for office and put our names on a ballot, we can all understand, and those who work in campaigns can appreciate as well. i will never forget coming home from graduation from law school and arriving at the headquarters with a bunch of young people working in the campaign, because we had no money. i will never forget my elementary school principal, who is the only woman -- the only principal who that it who had ever paddled me. mark principal locked in to my campaign office and said baby, i have got you some speeches. up to that point, i had not been invited anywhere to speak. the only way we were able to create excitement or interest in what we are doing is that we would just show up at events. an event like this where all the
leadership of the delegation and the caucus this evening -- i am i have to shut up at the front door to shake hands on the way in and on the way out. but she rushed in with a great deal of excitement in her voice and said baby, i have you 35 speeches. i looked at her and i could not have been more excited. she said they are graduation speeches. i looked at all the young men and women and said let's be organized and methodical about this. let's go and grab every voter registration form we can find. go to the library. go to the election commission downtown. although i will not be able to politics from the stage, i will be able to urge civic participation. ms. jackson looked at me and said these are not high school
graduates. i look to her and said it must be middle school. still grab all the voter registration forms rican. she said baby, they are not middle school graduations, either. i looked at her with puzzlement and ask for what she had arranged me to do. she said i have got you 32 kindergarten graduation speeches, sweetheart. i looked at her with all the honest excitement that i could, and quickly did the math. i realized there were three others i was giving that i did not know where i was supposed to be speaking. she said she had three elementary schools as well. as much as i wanted to be angry, as hard as it was to try to convince five bureaus to tell
their parents to vote for me, i thought about where else would i be spending my time. the press laughed at me and said i had no chance. i was speaking to kids who could not vote, and if they could vote, there is no guarantee they would vote for me. here i was speaking to children. i made my way through 15 or 16 of them, and my dad decided to be my driver for some of them. i will never forget going from a school in midtown memphis out to north memphis where my mother grew up. on the radio dial was a group of deejays who had the most awful things to say about me every day. of a sudden, i say to my dad, can we get someone to call in and say something positive on the radio? just a reminder that i am not a criminal.
remind them that i did go to college and law school. remind them that i have a decent head on my shoulders, and they should give me a chance and listen to me. >> he said do not worry about that. just a on your path. you'll be surprised, if you keep doing what you are doing. the primary is still two months, and we have time. right now, just a on track. we pulled into the driveway, and i will never forget, a lady called in to the radio show and identified herself as a grandmother. she said to the radio host, i listen to your show every day. i am amazed and treat an often find myself in support. she came back and said i have to disagree with you on one thing. that boy you keep talking about
on the radio named harold ford, jr.. what would make you disagree with everything? she said i listened and believed all that up until yesterday. she said, i went to my kenner barden -- my granddaughter's kindergarten graduation. she said he walked into the auditorium and stood before all the kids, acknowledged their teachers, and started a speech about health education was important and how this graduation would not be their last. no sooner than when he started, all the kids fell asleep, and she said that did not stop him. he keptd talking and talking. when he was finally done, he shook all the hands of the students, took pictures with their parents and other family members. >> and radio post said, that is
going to make you vote for him, because he shook hands with all the parents? she said what he did afterwards, when he finished taking pictures, he decided to go back in the kitchen where the kitchen staff was, and he took pictures with all them and did whatever they wanted to do. i realized then that he was going to be just like his dad, and the kind of person i wanted in congress. it was that moment that changed everything in my life. it was the beginning of the realization of a dream. i knew that i wanted to serve in public and give back. i did not know what my dad did, i just knew he put a suit on and people like him. i enjoyed taking calls in the office. when i was 9 years old, a woman called because she could not get a landlord to perform the repairs and improvements on her home that he had promised weeks
before. she called, and i decided to call the landlord and introduce myself. i told him i was 9 years old. he said 9-year-old are not supposed to call. i said 9-year-old can call when you do not do right by the people who live in your building. they can call when you do not respond to the human needs of people who count on you and depend on you. and tell the stories for a simple reason. you have all been unbelievably warm and encouraging and generous to me over the last month and a half. i moved to new york officially about 1.5 years ago. my wife lived and worked here for five years before i met her. she moved here after college. i moved right after the senate
that made her uncomfortable. it made the prospect of making a family uncomfortable for her. some people have said i move to new york to run for office. i could have predicted all of what happened over the last three years -- if i could, we should all go into business together and find ways to make loads of money and give to those that we care deeply about. my travels across the state have been revealing in so many ways. people are people. new yorkers are just like people from tennessee. people want to work and raise their families. they want the best opportunities, and they want a demand for what they sell. people in tennessee and new york one government to work. they are not interested in keeping forms and processing. they are dedicated and committed to a simple thing and it's outcome. i have heard my friends tonight.
like so many new yorkers they understand the power and majesty and a huge part of a person. i could not help be reminded that people all across this nation depend on each and everyone of us to do just one bank, to make government work. i listened to those in syracuse braque about their education program. i met with the leaders of public housing authority in buffalo and the mayor of buffalo. i met with leaders all across long island, and many in this room. these are people who said they
would support me or not support me. i am not running for anything, at least not yet. my hope, believe, and prayer is that we as elected officials, democrats and republicans scattered across the room, that our commitment to not only a system of democracy but one of openness and understanding that title still not making entitled to anything, and an understanding and appreciation that above all, we as people and voters have every right to choose who want, when we want, and we have every right to expect them to deliver. the last the years have been full of stress and hardship. many of the constituents i used to have all across this unbelievable state are worried and wondering what the future will be like. they are not as interested in whether or not we yell loud
enough that the republicans of whether they yell loud enough at us. they are not interested in hearing us blame george bush or the guy before him or the guy before him for the problems that we face. the challenges that we in new york or those in tennessee are anywhere across the nation are facing are ones that government has to play a role in helping to solve. i listened to charlie rangel talk about the importance of education. if there was ever a time in which america it needed to not only come to grips but be willing to think creatively and beyond the scope of what we have been training ourselves to think about education and how we teach and where we teach, now is that moment. no generation of americans has ever faced a level competition, the number of threats to kids,
no generation has had the resources, technology, and i rigidities that you and i have today. i am more proud and confident in our ability to find our way out of this mess that i have ever been, for a single reason. the people of this date and of this country are poised to leave when government and leaders give them the tools in which to do so. i remember traveling in memphis. as i travelled across the public housing committee, i met a 07- year-old. he told me he was retired from helping those in the community deal drugs. i said you are 10 years old and you have stopped doing this? how did you get started? he tell what he was 25. he said i used to watch the kids in the neighborhood. they always had something to
eat. dell is had something to do. i mother told me not to mess with that crowd. i told him when i was younger, my grandmother used to use the word agomannish -- to use the word "mannish." that young man's mother told him that that group of boys were just bad. they kept calling him over and he kept resisting, but one day he decided to go over. all they asked him to do was take a little bag and run it across to another building in the public housing, and he did it. he did it again and again, and before he knew, he had enough money to buy his own happy meal. he had enough to buy his friends something. he kept doing it, and one day they asked him if he would take the back a little further. he did that a few times and they asked him if he would recruit some of his friends to help as
well. he finally woke up one day and said his mother found one of the bags in his house. he said he never felt so embarrassed. he said he decided he would just go to school and do the things he was supposed to do. i could not help but think, that young man did all of this for a happy meal. he wanted a chance an opportunity. their kids like that all across new york, new jersey, pennsylvania, and all across this great nation of ours. we shortchange their future and our future and we do not ensure that a 7-year-old who is that right -- that bright, shame on us as a nation if not as a people if it cannot appreciate and understand and do better by that. [applause]
whether i run for office in this great state or not, this is home. whether i run for office in this great state or not, in the next few months, a wife and i have every intention of starting a family and raising our family here. whether i run for office or not, i am as concerned as any in this room after watching what happened in jersey and virginia and massachusetts. for any of us who believe for one moment that are majority, that the country's love for our president cannot be shaken or change, ask martha coakley. ask former governor corzine. asked a state senator deeds in virginia. if there was ever a time for us as democrats with all of our faith and confidence that we know what is right and best for new york and for the country, if there was ever a time for us to not be content with that, now is that moment.
we find ourselves going backwards by electing the other side to be the majority in the senate or the house in washington, shame on us. a year ago, we celebrated the inauguration of a new president. historic on so many levels, a pedestrian in others. his story because he is the first african-american, because he understands the unique needs of african-americans and minorities throughout this great nation, latinos all across this great nation, unique because he understands the importance as we celebrate, because it ensures that new york will get our fair share ensures we are all treated equally. his story because he appreciates as much as any urban needs an
urban challenges, coming from the great city of chicago. a year later, this nation is not sure about us. they are not sure our real commitment to making government actually work. they are not sure if we understand that government can grow too big at times and it poses a problem on middle-class and everyday people. in middle-class america, they are not convinced that we speak with them, understand them, represent them, and will work for them. each time we have face this challenge, we have found a way not only to come together but to develop a message that will bring others to us. i submit to my friends this evening that we face one of those moments right now in our state and in our nation. we can either choose either to be a backwards nation or a forward nation. we can be a backwards thinking state or a forward thinking state.
the power rests right here in this room. from those of state and those downstate, and i readily admit, i am still learning, but one thing i have listened to and learn over and over and over again over the last several weeks. there is a thirst, appetite, and desire to succeed again. there's an appetite and thirst to do well again and for new york to have the kind of leadership at every level of government that we can all be proud of, all know they are accountable to, and at the end of the day, say that is my person. i say to my friends this evening, over the next few weeks i ask for your prayers as my wife and i think about what may happen over the next several months. those of you think you know my record in those who do not, those who have been nice and those who have been not so nice, i think you not only for the chance to listen and to learn,
but i hope if we decide to go forward, you give me the opportunity to show you that indeed, i can lead, and not only for those in this room, but for those across this state. not only for those who are of age to vote, but every 5-year- old and 6-year-old and 7-year- old across the state who hopes they can have a leader in washington who understands that even if they fall asleep during a speech,
this is a pro reprogram and we will work to see this in the future budget. -- a priority program and we will work to see this in the future budget pierre >> the first question is for the research institute. is open. >> good morning. relative to the special planning -- there is money that is set aside for that and i have read from the task force report that they are trying to increase the venture planning. i am curious for the future -- how will the regulatory authority be tied into the usage of the product for the traditional planning with a cross of administrative issue as
to who is managing what -- and the fisheries would certainly be under no up. -- noah. how would this be used with the ocean? >> this is something that the task force has been speaking about and dealing with. and the recommendations that we will be sending as a task force to the president's -- there are some options -- much of which will be focused on the regional ocean planning entity of. i cannot remember exactly what we call them. and -- there'll be a need for us to develop a mechanism to work
with the relevant agencies and departments that have jurisdiction. and we have not defined exactly what this is going to look like. we have highlighted one of the reasons for having the integration across the departments and agencies. one of the challenges is making certain that the integration is consistent with the current authority, but that the overall activities -- they are getting us where we want to go in terms of having sustainable usage and maintaining the health the oceans, and also harmonizing the different interests. the shortest answer that i can give on that front is to stay tuned, because this challenging issue is on the radar screen. we will be working through this in the years to come. are there other questions >> i
am with the main society. you mentioned there were serious issues with enforcement. i am wondering if there is any increase in the request for enforcement. >> the inspector general for the department of -- the department of commerce has issued a report done at my request -- to look at the enforcement activity and to give us feedback on how well that we are doing and how we may do better. we take the reports very seriously, and we have implemented a number of steps to address some of the problems that he mentioned in the report. i have charge my general
counsel and my new assistant administrator for the fisheries with the immediate responsibility for carrying out the 10 things that i identified that we would take on. and also leading the charge for the evaluation of how to adequately respond to the problems highlighted in the inspector general's report and the need to be addressing those. >> to answer, in terms of the budget, there is no increase in the enforcement. >> are there other questions? go ahead.
>> the investments is obvious and substantial for transforming the commercial fisheries. these have been affected by the lack of adequate information and implemented fairly. the economic contribution of recreational fishing is not the same as commercial. what kind of increases are in the budget to gather the information that these fisheries need for recreational fishing? >> we agree with you that we need better information on the recreational fisheries. we have been working with the other representatives of recreational fishing interests as well as with the state to
identify some ways that we can do a better job, working together to get the information that we need. there are resources in the budget and this is a question of figuring out what we can get, and having information that everyone has confidence in, and we are working with the states because we have similar interests. thank you for that question. another one that is on the phone? >> thank you, and good morning. i have a question regarding your plans for using unmanned systems in 2011, and a couple of years beyond that, because of the research initiatives that you have. and what some of the plans will be.
>> i will be happy to take that. we have been investing in the aerial vehicles, and the underwater vehicles. to fill mission requirements -- i think in both cases and with this vehicle -- we are in a stage of development. understanding how these new technologies can best meet emission requirements. this is where we remain in this year -- fiscal year 2011 as we work on how these vehicles will be helping us in the long term. >> thank you, is there another question? >> i would like to congratulate you on the best budget ever. two questions, one related to
capitol hill and the other two research. i wondered if you would be able to amplify on the research side of things. >> are you asking for the numbers that we're putting in? >> where do you see -- the benefits of that investment coming. what can we look forward to as a result of this? >> we are looking for a better sense of the rate of the oceans is changing, and where. this is a better job than just monitoring, and the other is the research to understand the consequences of changing this facility. these are two bucket. >> and with that research we
could communicate the importance of dealing with this. >> absolutely. this is very important. and this is a scenario where there is a lot of serious work that needs to be done, and this budget is moving in that direction. there is a lot more that we need to pay attention to so that we can fully understand what is happening, and at what rate, and much of the initial information suggests that there is some kind of similarity and how the changes are playing out, and if we can get a better sense of the areas that are changing more rapidly or more slowly, this may help affect how we would see the various -- the different uses of the ocean. >> if i could follow up -- as
you demonstrated early on -- the capitol hill budget -- congress has always been adequate for noah. do you see this coming from this white house? >> one reason i spent time describing what we have been able to do in the last year, this is the motion -- the message to everybody and the constituents, that we're being responsible with the funding and putting them to good use. we are delivering on what we say that we can do. and this is my strong hope that the opportunities that we have identified in this budget will be seen by the members of congress as important things for congress to be investing in.
i see this as a partnership. we have been listening to the members of congress, and incorporating them into the budget. i hope that this will be viewed favorably. and that there are areas where many of the key members have said, how important that they think that this is. and i hope that this is -- how this budget lays out -- this will be demonstrated. >> i am from the newspaper of the geophysical union. he said the budget is good but
does not do everything that you would like for this to do. can you walk me through some of these further areas that you hoped would be in the budget, and may be likely to be pursued in future years, in the oceans and the other areas? and can you help me understand the budget trade-offs and frustrations? >> i think that this is a good budget. i think nobody does everything that everybody would want them to do. but all the budget decisions are about trade-offs, and the ones that you see in this package are a reflection of what we see as the opportunities and what the secretary -- different secretaries think are important for us to be doing.
the budget reflects this totality. no budget will ever be iexactly what somebody would like in every category. but this is a good budget. and over here? >> i know that communications with science has been a passion of yours throughout your career. can you describe your vision for the new climate service and the new process with which you hope to go about your mission? >> the climate service that we announced last week is intended to provide one-stop shopping for the nation. for business people, to access information and knowledge,
products and tools, in a way that is much easier and also, to continue to strengthen the scientific understanding of climate. and having the new knowledge be available immediately with the delivery of services. the concept is that having both the science and the service in the single office, we have an ability to both have different areas that will need to be researched and communicated to the researchers, as well as science being folded into the delivery of the new decisions. this climate service is not just within the headquarters, this is also part of the regional
components. we also announced the creation of six regional climate service directive positions that will be located with the national weather service offices. and we anticipate building communications and support tools that are appropriate to the regional decisions about both the adaptations as well as the litigation's. we are very excited about the new opportunities for this office. and we anticipate working in partnership with the other federal agencies that also have responsibilities on the science front and the service delivery front, and this is very much a government-wide partnership. and we know that we have such
capacity in both the observations and the monitoring, modeling, assessment and delivery services that we already provide and we have an important role. we do what we think is necessary to get everything together and be more useful for the nation. we are very excited about this. he has agreed to be the director for the office -- and the secretary of commerce made his announcement with me last week and this has -- i have to offer thanks for his very strong support and encouragement for doing this. reorganizing is never easy, and the people here have been very spectacular in trying to work as a team to define what is going to work best for the services
and we are very excited about the new direction. i will emphasize that we have announced his an attempt to create this new service. we have to go through a process of approval that is there a specific, with a certain amount of dollars and an approval process that goes through the department of commerce, to the office of management and budget, and to congress. as you also know, there is interest in a climate service by members of congress that have included this in legislation. and now that we have been able to attempt to create this reorganized office we very much look forward to working with members of congress on both the appropriations as well as the opposition side, to make this as
good as it can be. >> good afternoon. with all the interest in climate services, can you talk about the positive impact that this will have on the integration of the acquisition centers that we are so anxious -- we are so anxious to see get funding in the future? >> i think that the focus on the marine and special planning is drawing attention not only to the need to have a way to resolve conflicts and minimizing the impact on the environment, but also the safety information and basing decisions on good information. and this highlights the importance of the system, and
the importance of having good information at a variety of special standards. the observing programs are incredibly important, and we continue to work very hard to try to flush this out in a way that will meet the needs of the nation. is there anyone else on the phone? >> i had a question about the research and management line- item. the majority of these items, there is no program -- so i was wondering, how was the service planning to improve management and the other fisheries without program increases. and there is clarification on the specifics about the increase
of 36 million. i am not certain how you will be planning to spend this, establishing the fisheries? >> do you want to take the first part of this? >> on your question about the research and the management, the way that the budget is built up, if we get congressional earmarks they will come out and the program changes -- the budget will come back in. there are a number of these dedicated increases that may not be clear from the overall increase. we have a list of those and we are willing to go through each of them. we have identified these by working with the council's and we have gone through and prioritized which fisheries will adapt as it put together the detailed budget and the
different types of the fisheries that we involve as well as where the says. the best proposals for these fisheries in the pacific northwest and the gulf of mexico. we have a breakdown that we can share with you. some of this is in research -- and some of this is observing on the ships and the docks, and the actual numbers. and we have information on that that we are able to share with you. >> he answered both parts of the question. thank you. >> the antarctic coastal coalition. we saw the united states was working with us and we were
wondering which programs are available to work on the creation of another update? >> can anyone answer that? we will have to find out. >> we continued to work there with the science center and i believe that this budget is a continuation of those efforts and the ongoing priorities. >> are there other questions? >> i am from the university of maine. i noticed you were involved in aquaculture, recently. this is after you were previously not participating in a major way. do you have a place that you are thinking of that is different from the usda?
>> i do not know exactly -- are there changes in what we are doing? >> i was surprised. we have been working in aquaculture over time. some of this was earmarked in the past. i will stop there unless you want me to do the rest of the question. we are working very closely with the usda to make certain that there is no overlap that is there. we have some activities like the kinds of stock that we issue and share with them. i would say that this is closely coordinated as an effort. >> are there other questions? over here?
>> i am interested if you could give us more information about project funding? are there matching funds? what kind of mechanisms are at work here? >> for what? >> for the products with the private industry, what kind of ratio does this have? is this the matching ratio or is there any change from the past practices in that regard? >> generally -- there are a number of activities in the ocean service, where we have requirements on the different funds, with a different coastal funds, and we have arrangements with them.
they exist with the governments, with the overall coastal and fisheries program. i will think about your question more, about private investment. many of these are articulated with special exhibits. this articulates what the requirements are for the programs. >> i see no further questions, so let me just conclude by telling you how grateful that i am that you joined us today. how important that it is for you to be actively engaged in the budget process as we move ahead, simply because this is a strong budget but this does not mean that it will end up that way. and this requires your active
engagement with us and the others in the room, members of congress, and with whoever, to help us end up in the best possible place for the american people. i appreciate the work that many of you have done to help us in the past, and i will invite you to be actively engaged in the same way this year. please take advantage of the ask noah budget at noah.gov, and please ask any of the leadership that is here. thank you for joining us. we will be in touch. [captioning performed by national captioning institute] [captions copyright national cable satellite corp. 2010]
>> on "washington journal," david keene, of the conservative action committee. we will talk to thomas frank and bonnie glaser talks about obama meeting with the dali lama. >> a couple of live events to tell you bout. -- about. eric holder speaks on the public defender system. the political action cofnerence -- canference has speakers -- conference has speakers dick
armey, jim demint, and mitt romney. >> our company, if this is the video providers or those who offer content, gives our -- >> kyle mcslarrow on what is next for the cable industry. >> the leader of the consumer product safety commission is warning for manufacturers to make safety first, or face lawsuits. he is also promising new safety rules for baby cribs. 2 million of these were recalled this winter. this is a half hour. >> for those of you who do not know -- i am michelle and i want
to thank the underwriter for this wonderful meal. thank you very much. [applause] and so, i am here as i am responsible for safety at the state level. i have the privilege to introduce today's speaker. from the first month as the chairman of the consumer product safety commission she has shown that she would actively be trying to help the consumer. we had net would interviews on prince and the safety of certain off-road vehicles. it was clear that she was going to be a mainstay in the media and take this into a position of prominence. she has also made certain that
consumers would have increased access through public meetings, and social media. a superintendent of education in south carolina, the well-being of children as her life's work. she has led to a strengthening of ties between the states -- and she is [inaudible] please welcome inez tennenbaum. [applause] >> thank you so much for your gracious introduction. you represent this program with your efforts of enforcement and education. this has saved lives and
prevented injury in wisconsin and now we benefit from your leadership. members and special guests, thank you for accepting this invitation to discuss the state of product safety. i would like to introduce one of my fellow commissioners, who has been here this morning. we will give her a warm welcome as well. [applause] tradition has developed in recent years for us to have a day to update their community. i am happy to be part of this position and i come to you to say that the state of product safety is strong. i firmly believe that we are headed in the right direction in building a safer marketplace and community.
we are moving away from harmful chemicals and heavy metals and we are nation that has sent a strong message to the global partners about their responsibility to do what is just and fair in manufacturing the products and we are a nation that has reaffirmed the commitment to making certain that this will be a leading regulator of the marketplace. for these reasons, i say that a product safety is strong in the united states and this is getting stronger. after 2007 and 2008, 2009 was a year of changes. this brought new staff and new thinking, new partners and a return to open this, and renewed confidence to the parents when they were reaching for something on the store shelves. we were able to and 2009 on a high note, with a 75% decline in
recalls and and 80% decline in recalls because of lead violations. the opening of the first foreign office in beijing and a 2010 budget double what it was four years ago. when you look at where we have been and where we are going, you can see that we are on the rise. you can see this in the determination of the staff, who are working to catch people who sell clothing with drawstrings for children, and making new rules on product registration, and working on weekends to stop online auctioning of products that have been recalled. when you look at the revitalization that has gone on , the state regulators and advocacy groups, and 2010 is
looking to be -- to be the year of the consumer. we will never have to have the year of the recall. we will continue to work together to put the interests of the consumer above everything else. some people say that's this is just talk of change that is happy and the better days for product safety are just rhetoric. this is not true. i have seen the safety experts say that this is our time, and we will create a state of the art standard and not let special interests hijack the process. because of the word of the staff, with encouragement from myself, we are on the right half way to creating a safer sleeping environment for the most vulnerable customers. i have seen this in the drive
that the compliance and the field operations team has in dealing with problems, and they have conducted thousands of investigation. homeowner interviews and site inspections. i know that they are working not just for the consumer product safety commission but the community's where they live. i have seen this in yonkers, new york, where they are monitored -- where they are modernizing an organization and the consumers union is giving power to a new generation of parents. and he took great pride in bringing representatives to meet with the commissioner and myself to announce a plan to create a uniform certification program.
[laughter] that is the new direction -- that is what the direction is all about. that is what we have to be about at this time. although i have been unable to endorse the testing programs, this is the kind of thinking that i am looking for from the stakeholders. as many of you have heard me say before, i believe in open government. it is important for the efforts to change the culture in washington and the perceptions of this organization. i have made it the commission as accessible to the public as any time in history. i have made myself accessible to industry and consumer groups. i will continue to have an open
door in the years ahead, but i am looking to work with people who've come to the table with solutions and creative approaches to safety, not people who wish to delay progress or respond quickly -- failed to respond quickly to problems. i want to work with people on the cutting edge of safety. people like steve gass who wants the blade to stop after touching the skin, that will prevent amputation. he was recognized in 2001 and he has not given up. organizations like the public interest research group, which is sending messages with safety information and the center for environmental health, which is working to keep children safe from toxins.
and the companies that have systematic, technological approaches. i am fully aware of the information that says that we are an agency that is overwhelmed by mandates and we are distracted from the mission. to all of you who are here today, i say, do not believe that everything that you read on the internet. except on websites ending with "dot gov." we are tireless in our pursuit of safety. we are not consumed by the unintended consequences, but consumed with matters of consequence. during the last eight months, we have begun federal rulemaking on the vehicles that were off road
as it came to the attention that there was a dramatic rate of roll over with death and injury. we have -- we had just started at the all terrain vehicles and we make progress before the passage and we were supported by congress in the calls to complete the work. we have gone to china to push for the best practices in manufacturing, and complying with the requirements. we have conducted a recall of 50 million shades with repair kits for everybody. we are trying to recall the drought-side cribs that pose a deadly danger to babies. we have created a social media
web site that is reaching out to tens of thousands of consumers and has the potential to put life-saving information before millions of on-line users. we are working to address health and safety concerns associated with chinese drywall in the south. this is the most expensive investigation in the history of the organization. we have joined forces with the attorney general for a major recall announcement. this is my principal of firm and fair enforcement of product safety, inspecting 1200 public schools for compliance to the safety act. the results give us good reason to believe that law is working. and we had the health companies such as fisher price and target accountable for the violations
tied to the major recall of 2007 and 2008. this is a turning of the page on the past. we are now going to a france -- a fresh page and writing our own future. i believe that we have many opportunities to retain the public trust. to keep the focus on what the consumers are expecting, and what is in their best interest, i have an ambitious agenda for this year. the top priorities for 2010 are to carry out a.c.t. initiative for toddlers, modernizing the agency with the database and opening a new testing facility. continuing the work to finish the rule making, implementing and expanding the information in the education campaign for the safety act. a minority outreach program and conducting the operational
review. as i have stated before congress, i believe the safest product in the home must be the baby's crib. in response to the unacceptable number of recalls and the deaths and near-deaths in recent years, we are taking action. the staff will propose a final rule, mandating new performance standards. the staff is working closely with the afc, but if they fail to approve key elements of this performance plan, we will be acting independently. we are trying to be a good partner with the industry, but they have to act responsibly and
they need to act in a manner to regain their standing with parents and the public. let me be clear once again and let me repeat this. there will be a new federal safety standard this year. that is a promise i have made to the parents all over this country. we have created a new environment, that will coordinate all of the recalls and expand the use of the early-warning system. we will use product registration cards, and an analysis of the recall repair kits to make these more effective and prevent the death of children. to honor the families who have lost their children we must make every child -- the sweeping indictment a fortress of safety.
i have a message for the manufacturers. a message for everyone who makes consumer products. no more to the tired tactic of blaming the parents when we announce a recall that involves a death. take responsibility and show respect to the grieving family. those who go into this arena, when they have found your product to be defective will be called out, make no mistake. next on the priorities is modernizing the agency. with nearly 20 million allocated by congress, we are overhauling a system and tearing down the information and bringing up a highly-integrated system. the consumer product safety management system will improve the agency's efficiency,
allowing us to connect the dots and taking in even more data. i have been a supporter and i believe that this is the potential to usher in a new generation of consumers. we have a search for the incident reports, with safety warnings. we want to give industry a chance to talk about these concerns and we have held a highly-successful workshop last month and a great public hearing in november. the feedback that was received has been integrated into a final product. ñibut now that the team of expes has gone back to the process of building the data base, i want those in the industry to get prepared. ñinextqxi year, when the data bs activated, it will be difficult.
it will be a challenge for the cpsc. we must make certain that the process is in place for every company and this will be located as congress intended. i am happy to announce to all of you that the safer products website is now on. the data base is not on the web site but you can use this to follow the development and previous some of the pages and the functions in advance of march 2011. ñri would like you to attend the session this afternoon with two experts and learn more about the approach that we are taking to build the data base. as i have stated to you ju$is se of social media.
we are working toi] improve the facebook and messages. the product safety center will open with new and modern equipment, and we are excited that we will be able to do our own testing. regarding the consumer product safety act, i believe that this was the most positive change for the commission since this was created. there is a paradigm change that will not be reversed. companies that make zippers and buttons will be eliminating the lead from manufacturing, and tracking labels will soon be on children's products as well as registration cards. pacifiers and lead paint, metal jewelry and cribs have been in place. this is good for the consumer.
the commission has implementation to allow the agency time to establish a global infrastructure protecting their certification, so that the industry is not set up to fail. there are important roles that i would ask the staff to complete this year, defining a children's product. establishing the long-awaited rules for reasonable testing. and more of the juvenile product rule. regarding section 104, i would like for everyone to know that there is synergy between my -- my philosophy on these standards and mandatory ruling. the implementation in the 1980's may have led an eight-one ratio
in voluntary standards, but they have changed the ratio dramatically. to those on the voluntary standards committee, i say that your work has never been more important. you can step up to enhance your standards right now. if you change the standards to make this less prone to entrapment -- we will recognize your standard as the mandatory ruling that the federal level. and even beyond this, where the voluntary standard is not complied with, what is not working to protect the consumer, i have told the staff to explore rule-making. i have also told them to do more outreach to small businesses and crafting communities,ñi where we haveçó - working people. to fail and i do not want anyone
to not be able to care for their families. but the law covers all companies, for big -- for good reason. we will continue with component testing and safety options for small businesses. we will be stepping up the communication with these businesses to stay in compliance. as we implement the child safety law, the commission will continue to be responsive to congress as they consider options and possible amendments. i hope that you are able to attend this session that the senior staff held this morning, for a detailed discussion. a key priority to me is reaching out to the minority community. i believe that every consumer, no matter where they live or who they are, deserves access to the
information for product safety. we pointed out the different ways to improve in this area as we are working hard to collect information and are formulating a crash--- a grass-roots campaign. we have the power of the safety net worth with outrage to african-americans, hispanics and other minority communities. through a new contract, we are poised to roll out multi-million dollar information on the drain entrapment prevention in pools and spas. i would like to thank those who sought funding for these initiatives. we will honor the 300 children who have drowned each year in
pools by putting the best creative minds together for this campaign, the education and layers of protection. i believe that we can make swimming pools fun for children and not a source of tragedy. look for more information in the weeks to come. finally, i am happy to announce that hamilton will be helping us meet the obligations and modernize the organization. we will be coming together to develop a five-year strategic plan for an operational and management analysis. we must take time to reflect and think about where we are wanting to be in the next five years. and the best way to position ourselves for success. the first step in this strategic plan will be to bring the new
visions and the major goals into focus. we are wanting for this process to be exclusive of all the stakeholders. and this includes everyone of you. you will hear more on this later this afternoon about how we plan to include you in the strategic planning process, helping us at the vision and the goals, and you, telling us how to build an operational plan that will enable us to review the day -- the way that we do business and make certain that we are aligned to execute the vision. this is your time to work with us. i am happy to be able to launch this initiative, and i encourage all of you to participate in this opportunity to help shape the future. this agency is part of what you do every day. i would like to end my remarks by giving you a better feeling of who we are.
we stand for safety and this is represented in the staff. we are survivors and fighters and grandparents, represented by people working to honor children that were taken away too soon, and people who almost lost their lives. we have talent and hard, staff who are experts in the field, with child behavior, or toxicology, or administrative law. we have field staff driving hundreds of miles an interview of family who have lost their homes in a fire, or worse, lost their child. those looking for the needles in a haystack. using a technology to find viruses and fireworks and a cigarette lighters. scientists who work to find the
next product hazard for their colleagues. we have a new commission and we are not always unanimous, but we're committed to keeping children safe. a new commission with new powers. we are not afraid to use them. if you resisted the efforts to recall children's products, this commission stands ready to be creative in the use of the enforcement authority. as the toyota experience has shown, we will not allow for a delay in recalling dangerous products. the consumers expect us to be proactive, using their tax dollars wisely, and being non- partisan in protecting children. this is what we will strive to do. we are committed to making this the year of the consumer. and with your support, i will
continue the transformation from what some people have said is a teething tiger to the focus of consumer protection. thank you for asking me to be here today, and thank you for your commitment to children and the cpsc. let's give her a round of applause. [applause] i wish all of you enjoyable afternoon and we hope to see you again very soon. thank you. >> thank you for being here today and what you have said, and i would like to present you with the coveted "i love icphso"
forum on nuclear deterrence. "wshingtoashington journal" wile on the conservative momvement and the president's meeting with the dali lama. eric holder is speaking at a justice department conference. our coverage on c-span 2 begins at 8:30. at 10:00, the conservative political action conference, with jim demint, former ma jority leader dick armey, and mitt romney. "boo tv" is prime -- "book tv" is primetime this week. join ouris